Science: Not a Crisis in Journalism but an Opportunity
Matthew C. Nisbet, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Communication Studies, Public Policy, and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University. Nisbet studies the role of communication and advocacy in policymaking and public affairs, focusing on debates over over climate change, energy, and sustainability. Among awards and recognition, Nisbet has been a Visiting Shorenstein Fellow on Press, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, a Health Policy Investigator at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and a Google Science Communication Fellow. In 2011, the editors at the journal Nature recommended Nisbet's research as “essential reading for anyone with a passing interest in the climate change debate,” and the New Republic highlighted his work as a “fascinating dissection of the shortcomings of climate activism."
In the lead editorial at Science last week, Harvard University's Cristine Russell discusses the many emerging possibilities in science journalism. It's a mistake to frame current events as a "crisis," correctly explains Russell, but rather to look at trends as an opportunity to diversify, innovate, and experiment with new models and formats, expanding the network of science journalists into a truly global community, retraining journalists to produce content for new platforms and to cover related dimensions of policy and ethics, while broadening and diversifying audiences.
For journalists from Boston to Beijing, the rapidly changing world of communication technology also offers myriad multimedia options for crossing borders by accessing the latest science, interviewing experts, mining research, and reaching the public in innovative ways. While these new tools--blogs, podcasts, Skype, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter--offer creative outlets, mindless chatter can gobble up precious time. Countless new Web sites provide a dizzying array of science information, misinformation, and commentary that can be hard to sort through. These sites also run the risk of preaching to the converted and subdividing the audience in ways that may narrow the science knowledge base and reinforce uninformed opinion.
In the face of this changing media landscape, journalism and science organizations need to explore better ways to train reporters, scientists, and other communicators around the world in the substance and process of science writing. In doing so, it is crucial that the old-fashioned virtues of good journalism--accurate information, multiple sources, context over controversy, and editorial independence--not be lost in the enthusiasm for communicating content in novel ways.
It's the first time the association hasn't hired a comedian in 16 years.
- The 2018 WHCA ended in controversy after comedian Michelle Wolf made jokes some considered to be offensive.
- The WHCA apologized for Wolf's jokes, though some journalists and many comedians backed the comedian and decried arguments in favor of limiting the types of speech permitted at the event.
- Ron Chernow, who penned a bestselling biography of Alexander Hamilton, will speak at next year's dinner.
Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.
- America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
- Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
- Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
A study on flies may hold the key to future addiction treatments.
- A new study suggests that drinking alcohol can affect how memories are stored away as good or bad.
- This may have drastic implications for how addiction is caused and how people recall intoxication.
- The findings may one day lead to a new form of treatment for those suffering from addiction.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.